What is the Bread Proofing Temperature?

It’s essential for bread to rise. Without proofing, bread would be flat, and lack developed flavors. But the age-old question, especially for newbie bakers, is what the right bread-proofing temperature actually is.

While it’s best to follow the directions of your recipe, the universal bread-proofing temperature is 80F. The temperature can change depending on the type of bread and desired results, though. For instance, some bakers opt for cold proofing at 50F.

Hey, everyone! My name is Michelle, and I’ve been baking bread for several years. I love to make bread. While I spend the bulk of my time on sandwiches and sweet bread, I splurge with artisan loaves like sourdough bread sometimes, too.

I’m here to share the best proofing temperature for bread.

The Best Bread Proofing Temperature

It’s been “proven” that the best proofing temperature for bread, universally, is 80F. So, if you’re unsure which temperature to use for your next loaf of bread, you can be safe by opting for 80F. 

That doesn’t mean that 80F should be used all the time. Some types of bread work well in different temperatures. Plus, you can elevate flavors and create a lighter, open-crumb kind of bread with varying temperatures, too.

As a general rule of thumb, never proof the dough at temperatures above 120F or below 40F. Temperatures above 120F will kill the yeast, while temperatures below 40F will cause the yeast to go dormant, resulting in un-proofed loaves.

With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the best temperatures for bread, depending on the type of bread you’re making.

Sourdough

You can completely change the outcome of your sourdough bread by playing with the proofing temperature. 

  • 85-90F – The warmer temperature will enhance acidity in the dough, creating more of a sour flavor.
  • 70-75F – If you want to tame the traditional sourdough flavors a pinch, use slightly colder temperatures.

Sweet Bread

Sweet bread tends to like a warmer environment for proofing, so anywhere between 80 F and 85F will work like a charm.

Be careful, though. Since sweet bread typically contains butter, you want to avoid the butter melting point (90F to 95F). Needless to say, melted ingredients will disrupt the proofing process. 

Artisan Bread

Bakers typically proof Artisan bread at colder temperatures. This allows the bread to develop more flavor while simultaneously being easier to knead and shape. That said, most Artisan bread loaves will prove anywhere between 70F and 90F.

Pastries/Croissants

Pasties and croissants are delicate, so they don’t need too much warmth. In fact, these types of treats require the chilliest temperatures, with anywhere between 68 F and 75F being ideal.

How to Choose the Right Proofing Temperature

A warm, 80F environment will work for just about any type of bread. But some bakers use temperatures of up to 100F, while others go as low as 50F. What gives? How do you know when to change the temperature of your dough? Here are a few things to consider.

1. The Warmer the Environment, the Faster the Rise

First things first – let’s discuss timing

Warmer temperatures, such as those between 90F and 100F, will speed up the proofing time. In fact, you can expect your bread to prove twice as fast at these temperatures.

Colder temperatures, like those below 70F, will take longer. If you dip down to the 50F range, your loaf could take twice as long to prove.

2. Cooler Temperatures Add More Flavor

Choosing a warmer temperature and speeding up the proving time is excellent for specific situations, especially if you’re short on time. But it’s not always the best idea. That’s because the cooler temperature will offer more flavor with plenty of depth, while warmer temps will create lighter flavors.

That’s why certain bread with distinct flavors – such as sourdough – are commonly proofed at colder temperatures.

3. The Lower the Temperature, the Better the Texture

A slower, cooler proof will also benefit the texture of the bread. Bread that’s proved too quickly at a warm temperature can end up with too many holes and a lack of structure, while those with a low-and-slow proof will have a beautiful crumb throughout.

4. Cooler Temperatures Can Lead to a Longer Shelf Life

Cooler temperatures slow down the proving process, allowing the loaf of bread to become more acidic. In turn, the added acidity fends off mold growth and retains moisture, allowing for bread to last longer than those proved quickly.

5. Bread Dough Proved in Lower Temperatures is Easier to Manipulate

After the proofing process comes kneading, which can be incredibly time-consuming and challenging. One great way to make your dough easier to shape and manipulate is to let it proof slowly at a lower temperature (and consider letting your bread machine do the kneading for you).

FAQs

There you have it! Everything you need to know about the best bread-proofing temperature. If you’re still interested in learning more, I’ve added a few frequently asked questions to which you might want to know the answer.

What temperature is a proofing oven set at?

Are you thinking about purchasing a bread proofer? Fabulous idea! This will take much guesswork and difficulty out of proofing your loaf. 

Every proofing oven is different, but most will have options ranging from 70F to 100F. Some may have higher and lower temps, so double-check the details.

What is the best temperature and humidity for proofing bread?

When you’re trying to remember the best temperature and humidity for proofing bread, remember this magic number – 80. Eighty degrees is the best choice for proofing most bread types, and 80% humidity is recommended, too.

Can I proof my bread in the oven?

You can proof your bread in the oven. It’s a great idea, especially if your kitchen is cool. To proof the bread in the oven, place it on the middle rack. Add a cup of boiling water underneath it and close the oven. This will create the necessary heat and humidity for a top-notch proofing session.

What temperature does dough rise in the oven?

You can also turn the oven on and nix the cup of boiling water. Basically, you want to turn the oven on to 200F for about two minutes. Turn it off, slide the bread dough, covered, into the middle rack, and let it proof for an hour.

Bread Proofing Temperatures Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

The best temperature for bread-proofing is 80F, but that doesn’t mean you have to use this number. To develop more flavors and a better texture, consider a lower temperature below 70F. Also, think about what type of bread you’re making to help choose the right temp.

What temperature do you use to proof your bread? Do you have anything to add? Tell us in the comments!

About Michelle
I have been a lover of sweets since day one. This led me on a self-taught baking journey starting at the age of 13. It's been over 10 years since the start of my baking adventures, and I’ve learned a lot along the way. Now, people rave about my delectable treats, whether it’s a chocolate cake or a strawberry crepe.

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